Internet search giant, Google's efforts to put the all the streets in the world on a map with its Street View service has again run into problems, this time from Switzerland's privacy watchdog for failing to implement the country's strict personal privacy laws.
The Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC), Hanspeter Thür, had requested Google in September to take various measures to protect personal privacy in its Street View online service, which went online in August, but Google refused to implement most of the measures recommended, said the watchdog in a statement today.
The FDPIC said that in Google's Street View service numerous faces and vehicle number plates have not been made sufficiently unrecognisable from the point of view of privacy protection, especially where the persons concerned are shown in sensitive locations like outside hospitals, prisons or schools.
The FDPIC is now taking Google to the Federal Administrative Court for its inability to comply with its requests.
The FDPIC said that even the advance information that Google provided was incomplete, where Google announced that it would primarily be filming urban centres, but then put comprehensive images of numerous towns and cities on the internet.
In outlying districts, where there are far fewer people on the streets, the simple blurring of faces is no longer sufficient to conceal identities since the website's zoom function, enables the Street View user to isolate and enlarge images of individuals on the screen.
Google said it was disappointed by the move and added that it is sure that Street View is legal in Switzerland and will "vigorously contest" the case.
In May, acting on privacy complaints in Italy, Google started to blur the faces of people, but apparently Google has been seen to be trying to see whether it can bypass the Swiss watchdog. (See: Google makes faces in its Street View photos unrecognizable)